Layoffs announced at Chapman Forest Products Plant

BUTLER COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - Signs of a souring economy are creeping into Butler County, as a mill announces it will lay off many of its employees.

Chapman Forest Products CEO, Philip J. Smith, confirmed the layoffs of 70 of its 325 employees.

He says those layoffs will last from six to twelves months.

Chapman Forest Products, located between Greenville and Georgiana, is a manufacturer of Southern Yellow Pine Lumber and plywood products.

The company was a recent aquirement of Smith's, who purchased the mill in January of 2008 from previous owner International Paper Corp.

The Chapman facility has a long history in the forest products industry beginning in the late 1800's.

"As a large employer in Butler County the impact will hopefully be minimal compared to a permanent shutdown that would be looming in the future if layoffs were not pursued at this time," according to Smith.

He's encouraging all employees by saying the layoffs would be a temporary situation strictly due to the poor economy and the current state of the lumber and plywood markets.

"Our goal is to be as lean as possible in these difficult times and reduce production levels to current market demand," said Smith.

Smith's other business, Smith Companies, which is a separate entity from Chapman Forest Products has not been adversely affected by the current economy, and employment there will not be affected at this time.